Beginner’s Guide to Growing Your Readership

This post is by Gotham Hipster

Once you've started  your blog, you've probably realized the readers don't all come out by  themselves. Here are some tips to get yourself out there and interacting with the blog community, and your readers.

Interviews

An interview is the most personal way to market yourself to viewers, because you're giving away quite a bit of information about yourself, they can just as easily detract readers as they can increase your popularity.

  • Be the interviewer. Although we all want to be interviewed, the best way to get notoriety is email your favorite bloggers, requesting to interview them.  Go to interviews they’ve done in the past to make sure your not asking them the same questions. Hopefully they’ll post it to their blog, exposing you to their readers.
  • Choose who interviews you. It’s exciting when people ask to interview you, at first I suggest taking the ones you can get. But after you’ve done a couple discuss with them the questions their asking, and check out their followers to make sure it’s worth your while.

Networking

  • The obvious Twitter. I am Twitter newbie, but in my brief time on the site I've seen how valuable a networking source it can be.  You can gain followers, at a faster pace, and even expose yourself to the world of celebrities. But certainly the most useful part of Twitter, is building more personal connections with your readers more readily, than a normal blogging format allows.
  • Facebook/Myspace. Many people have suggested to me that I network through personal pages. Connecting with people who have the same interests at you can have help attract large portions of your blog traffic. Just make sure that you are comfortable with how much you're sharing so that it doesn't get out of hand.

Commenting

Although it may seem innate to comment on other blogger’s posts, there are a couple tips and tricks that you can benefit from (besides those warm feelings you get when you’ve just complimented someone). Comments are like little written vignettes. You have a very limited space to show other bloggers who you are, so use that space wisely.

Make your comments are worthwhile. Make comments that can start discussion. Instead of just saying “cute dress!”, try writing something more in depth, depicting why you like something, or what you thought was unique about the blogger.  “I love the juxtaposition of lace and florals; red looks simply darling on you!”

Tracking your traffic

How do I know how many visitors I have? Which ones are returning vs. new? Tracking your blog traffic is truly one of the most beneficial applications a blog can have. By looking at the stats you can determine what parts of the world your viewers are coming from, where there being referred by, how many viewers are new vs. returning, and how many total page loads you have.  There are so many different stat counters, how do you know which one to choose?

Statcounter.com
Pros: allows you to have an invisible stat counter so that your number of viewers doesn’t appear in your blog. It’s free.
Cons: doesn’t give you a description of where your viewers are referred from.

Freestats.com
Pros: it has all the features you could want (unique visitors, top 50 referrals, popular posts)
Cons: if you’re going for their free version you have to have their ad your blogs

Google Analytics
Pros:  IFB creator and fellow blogger, Jennine put it, “It's probably one of the most widely used among professional bloggers as well as several media and ecommerce sites. Most of all it's free.”

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38 Responses

  1. Amy Blogs Chow

    Hi, Jennine! I’m a food blogger who’s inexplicably in love with your fashion and social media blog. I’m thrilled to see you’re incorporating guest bloggers. However, per your own past advice, please take a moment to edit for grammar inconsistencies. I am a huge fan and would hate to see the quality of your extraordinary site decline.

    Reply
  2. Intrinsically Florrie

    I love Statcounter personally for stats, though I think it actually DOES say where my visitors are coming from or am I missing something? Meanwhile Google Analytics and I are far from the best of friends- it’s found the code on my page but then seems to be permamently waiting for something.

    Twitter is amazing. =D xx
    .-= Intrinsically Florrie´s last blog ..Meeting Misters Dolce and Gabbana =-.

    Reply
    • stylefyles

      I use both Analytics and StatCounter.

      I started with analytics, but, same as you, the it found my pages code but never fed me stats or updates. So I hooked my blog up through StatCounter, which worked immediately.

      I never discontinued Analytics, however, and several months down the line, when prompted by a friend, I revisited the page to show my “Analytics Fail.”

      Miraculously it was working (and had been for months)!

      I’ll never know how that happy accident happened, but I’m glad it did!

      Also, Intrinsically Florrie, like you I’ve been able to use StatCounter to see where my followers are coming from. Not only can you see their web traffic (how they found your site), but you can also see their exact location, to an (almost) creepy extent.

      For instance, by clicking “Recent Visitor Map” I can click on the red dots and see the IP address and details of where the visitor is coming from. So, when I click on a certain tab that pulls up the name of the college my mom works at, in general, I can be fairly certain the visit is coming from her.

      You can use “Entry Pages” or “Visitor Paths” to track visitor activity and see how they found your site.

      So, Florrie, you are not mistaken!

      Sorry for the long tirade, but hopefully this is helpful to anyone wondering how to track this info. To be brief, from the main page, just click the name of your blog (it’s a link) which will take you to a more detailed page. The blue sidebar has tons of features for you to explore!

      note: this is not a sponsored comment

      (hah!)

      Reply
      • stylefyles

        Sorry to pop back so quickly, but just wanted to apologize for the grammar errors (hopefully, it’s still readable) and also note that my google analytics and my statcounter statistics are generally fairly on par with each other, which is a great thing!

        I love accuracy.

        As a rule, statcounter seems to be a bit more strict (but always inside of about a 1-2% percent difference or so), when tracking unique visitors.

        In that vein, statcounter not only shows total page views, but also unique visitors. I believe analytics does this as well but I can’t remember as I am still somewhat new to analytics.
        .-= stylefyles´s last blog ..For Valentine’s Day…. =-.

  3. Ondo Lady

    I used to use Google Analytics which was ok for a while until mid last year when for some reason unknown to me, the wretched thing stopped tracking my data. I would re input the code over and over again and nothing would happen. In the end I gave up and registered with Sitemeter and Perfomancing Metrics. Sitemeter is ok and does the job but Performancing Metrics is superb and gives me all the data I need.

    If you are looking for a way to track your stats then I would highly recommend Performancing Metrics, the name may not be as sexy as Google Analytics but at least it performs.

    http://pmetrics.performancing.com/
    .-= Ondo Lady´s last blog ..Fashioning February: My Space – Sarah Oyeleye from In2mee =-.

    Reply
    • Jennine

      that’s a great suggestion… I personally love analytics, but love hearing about good alternatives, by integration with google is a little too close for comfort!

      Reply
  4. Online fashion marketing

    I am definitely a Google analytics girl. However have had problems with the tracking code not working. I think if you change the template it removes the code so you have to reinstall it. Also I think sometimes it may be affected by other code, try installing inside the head/ header tags (i think)

    Reply
  5. liz

    i use both clicky for wordpress and google analytics, and I have no idea which is accurate -so many discrepancies between the two, it’s harrowing.

    Clicky tends to show much more traffic then google, so obviously I like to believe that Clicky is accurate : )

    Reply
  6. Bedamat

    Hey Everyone,

    I’m still quite a newbie with all of the technical stuff, but I think that WP-Stats does quite a good job.. Are you all using different Blog systems like Blogger and Tumblr? I think for WordPress it’s quite easy to get a full readout of anything I could imagine for free and easy to set up. Plus you have it all on your Dashboard, after you logged in.
    Here’s a link to the plugin-page..

    Are there big differencies in accurracy between these systems, that you mentioned?

    Best, bedamat

    Reply
  7. KB

    I really don’t understand Google Analytics, so just rely on Statcounter (and Feedjit is also a bit of fun). My readership has really grown by networking and meeting other bloggers in person, so I’m going to continue doing this (and making new friends in the process). I also love Twitter and seeing a different side to people.
    .-= KB´s last blog ..Treasured Weekends =-.

    Reply
  8. Denise @ Swelle

    (I’m sorry but I can’t help but snicker at the first comment, considering she seems to be confused about what ‘inexplicably’ means!)

    I’d like to underscore Gotham Hipster’s point about checking previous interview questions. When I interview a designer or artist I’m doing it because it’s someone I really respect and admire. The last thing I want to do is waste their time and bore them by asking them to reiterate their background and things that don’t really matter. For one, it’s all there somewhere if you do your research, and it’s a waste of an opportunity with someone really great if you don’t aim to uncover what it is that’s special about what they do. Or just choose an aspect of their work to explore. We don’t need to cover every angle. In fact, sometimes it’s one particular thing that makes a fascinating interview. Like the one with Mei Hui of Victim that I just posted (sorry, but I’m really proud of this one!). You can get a great story if you have a conversation rather than ask canned questions and they will thank you for it. Literally, they do.
    .-= Denise @ Swelle´s last blog ..My Fun Afternoon Playing ‘Victim’ in East London =-.

    Reply
    • Amy Blogs Chow

      Hi, Denise! There seems to be some confusion between what I said and your interpretation. I love and respect the content that is shared on HeartIFB.com. I promote this blog as much as possible – perhaps more than one would expect from someone who works in a field that’s not fashion-related. So it’s unusual, I think. But maybe you’re right, it is explainable.
      .-= Amy Blogs Chow´s last blog ..STUPIDLY SIMPLE Dexter SANDWICH =-.

      Reply
  9. Jessica

    I definitely prefer StatCounter to Google Analytics. At one point I had both running, and StatCounter picked up more traffic than GA.

    Also, good point about commenting. If you want to draw traffic back to your own blog, you have to give people a reason to think you have something interesting to say.
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..Review: Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion =-.

    Reply
  10. Leia

    Excellent article! Thank you! I’ve used many of these tips in the past and find they’ve really helped… although I’m a little bit sad that our dear blog is now a year old and we have never been asked (even by fellow bloggers!) for an interview 🙁 So I’m going to have to go with the “take what you can get” option, haha!

    Oh, and I use Stat Counter and love it 🙂
    .-= Leia´s last blog ..Emma Watson for People Tree =-.

    Reply
  11. Sandra

    Great post! Were you reading my mind? Was this spurred by me? I have been really struggling with this for quite a while now. It’s really difficult to see so many great bloggers grow by leaps and bounds, and well deserved, while I’m sort of in this “dip”. Not whining, just being honest with myself. It’s time to be analytical and pragmatic and figure out how to grow, grow, grow!

    Thank Jennine!

    P.S. I’m guilty of bad grammar and typos too. Don’t apologize. Grammar nitpickers are anal ; ) I say that with love. But, if the goal is to get writing gigs or a book deal, it pays to be extra careful. Although that’s why God invented copy editors!

    Reply
  12. Sandra

    Leia-
    I know that feeling. It’s hard. All sorts of insecurities creep in when even your blogging friends don’t ask for interviews. But what I realized not to long ago, is that you have to provide, even your friends, with a reason to interview you. Email them. Pitch them blog posts. They have blogs/businesses to run too. If you don’t ask, you can’t receive. The times I have pitched blogging friends, they have been generous with their time and readership, if they feel it makes sense.
    .-= Sandra´s last blog ..Links à la Mode : The Love/Hate Relationshio With Fashion =-.

    Reply
  13. Clara Dourado

    Thank ou very much for this post! It was REALY usefull. Kisses to you all and congratulations for the good job! =)
    .-= Clara Dourado´s last blog .. =-.

    Reply
  14. Kiwi

    I love finding these posts in my inbox!
    I am currently trying to revamp my blog, so I find this all so very very useful.
    Thanks again and keep up all the wonderful work you do!

    xo Kiwi

    Reply
  15. Sandra

    Last comment, I swear…

    “check out their followers to make sure it’s worth your while.” Careful with this! There have been some bloggers whose britches got felt a little tight, quickly. I’ve been grateful for A list bloggers and A list people in the field who have been generous enough to talk to a small niche blogger like myself. They didn’t feel I was not worth their time. I wouldn’t dismiss a blog, unless they were way off my audience’s radar.
    .-= Sandra´s last blog ..Links à la Mode : The Love/Hate Relationshio With Fashion =-.

    Reply
  16. alixrose

    Thank you so much for this blog post! I am in a constant struggle to find a good counter. I use google, but its a love hate relationship with it. Am definitely going to check this stuff out.
    Also I love comments so cute dress or nice blog and am a happy girl!!! But I know what you mean!
    .-= alixrose´s last blog ..BEACH GLAMOUR: MILLA BRINGS THE FANTASY TO LIFE! =-.

    Reply
  17. Rachel

    As a new blogger, this information is very helpful. The blogging world seems so saturated, it’s a bit intimidating at first. Your post has given me new inspiration to try again! I thank you for that.
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..blog of the day =-.

    Reply
  18. AlysonIsNeat

    Jennine – This is such a great primer for beginner bloggers. I have been commenting like crazy and most of my traffic is from those referrals! I definitely agree with you, to make the comments worth while. I think the overall arch of social media is to just be genuine, not fake.

    I also wanted to address some GA (that’s google analytics by the way, in the social media marketing and seo world, we just abbreviate it) issues that people are having. First and foremost, Google Analytics provides the most useful data out there, often better than stuff you pay for… and its free! If you change your template, you will have to go back in and update the tracking code. Do you research and learn what the different metrics mean on your site. My personal favorite is bounce rate (omg, I know I can’t believe I have a favorite metric). Bounce rate calculates how many people come to your site and how many people stay long enough to be counted as a visit. So even though you may be getting more visits through another traffic counter, Google Analytics will actually report how many people actually stayed and looked around instead of clicking in and then clicking out.
    .-= AlysonIsNeat´s last blog ..Fashion Tip Friday – How to Wear a Square Scarf, a video blog post =-.

    Reply
    • Jennine

      hahah… well if makes you feel better, i monitor bouncerate to see if a traffic source is worth investing more time in or not! so i guess we’re both kinda nerdy.
      😉
      so yes, in addition to what you’re saying, i’d also like to note that wordpress has a plugin for google analytics that is really easy to use, so it’s not tied to your template, and it’s also upgradable as well.
      (one of the reasons why i love wordpress)

      Reply
  19. Kionon

    I have very few text based posts. I am primarily a photograph-based blogger. So I’m not sure the point of my blog is to attract people based on what I have to say, or not entirely so. I would assume most of my “readers” would be people interested in my photographs.
    .-= Kionon´s last blog ..Atomic Cocktail Party….Fukuchiyama, Kyoto =-.

    Reply
  20. Heather

    Jennine,

    Such a fab post. Thank heavens I’ve found you. I’m interested in what version of WP you are using. I use WP.com and discovered that you can’t add GA as a plug in. I am thinking of switching to WP.org but know nothing of hosting my own data, etc.

    I LOVE google analytics because of the detailed information (I use it on my etsy site) and would be thrilled beyond words to have it function in wordpress.
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Friday’s Wardrobe =-.

    Reply
  21. Eva Leong

    Omg, thank u for the tip! This really helps, when I started my blog years ago it’s more like a private journal out in d open so i didn’t mind if nobody knows about it. It was until recently that I started fashion blogging. And suddenly it sucked that nobody ever stops by. 🙁
    .-= Eva Leong´s last blog ..Happiness by Choice =-.

    Reply
  22. ascotfriday

    Thank you for this post. I have read so many ‘how to drive more traffic articles’ and it is always nice to gain new insight!

    Reply
  23. Bonae

    Thanks for posting this! I am going to take one of the advice and comment. What got you to start heartifb.com?
    .-= Bonae´s last blog ..Technorati =-.

    Reply
  24. Eva @ Eve's Eden

    Such useful tips! I do try all kind of ways to attract readers. Maybe it’s just me but i do think my blog is pretty cool. Just that no one discover that’s ll… Hahah but those tips would definitely help! 😀

    Eve’s Eden
    Eva @ Eve’s Edens last blog ..Last Day Of School

    Reply